Philosophers have explored objective interpretations of probability mainly by considering empirical probability statements. Because of this focus, it is widely believed that the logical interpretation and the actual-frequency interpretation are unsatisfactory and the hypothetical-frequency interpretation is not much better. Probabilistic assertions in pure mathematics present a new challenge. Mathematicians prove theorems in number theory that assign probabilities. The most natural interpretation of these probabilities is that they describe actual frequencies in finite sets and limits of actual frequencies in infinite sets. (...) This interpretation vindicates part of what the logical interpretation of probability aimed to establish. (shrink)
Celebrated for disproving the traditional view that lack of oxygen at birth (perinatal asphyxia) contributes significantly to cerebral palsy, a 1986 New England Journal of Medicine article by Karin Nelson and Jonas Ellenberg engineered a new consensus in the medical community: that lack of oxygen at birth rarely causes cerebral palsy. We demonstrate that the article's central argument relies on straightforwardly fallacious statistical reasoning, and we discuss significant implications -- e.g. how carefully fetuses are monitored during labor and delivery, (...) expert testimony in malpractice cases, and public policy decisions. (shrink)
J.S. Mill's plural voting proposal in Considerations on Representative Government presents political theorists with a puzzle: the elitist proposal that some individuals deserve a greater voice than others seems at odds with Mill's repeated arguments for the value of full participation in government. This essay looks at Mill's arguments for plural voting, arguing that, far from being motivated solely by elitism, Mill's account is actually driven by a commitment to both competence and participation. It goes on to argue that, for (...) Mill, much of the value of political participation lies in its unique ability to educate the participants. That ability to educate is not, however, a product of participation alone; rather, for Mill, the true educative benefits of participation obtain only when competence and participation work together in the political sphere. Plural voting, then, is a mechanism for allowing Mill to take advantage of the educative benefits that arise from the intersection of competence and participation. (shrink)
J.N. Findlay was a South African philosopher who published from the late 1940s into the 1980s. He had a prestigious international academic career, holding many academic posts around the world. This article uses a textual comparative approach and focuses on Findlay’s Gifford Lecture at St Andrews University between 1965 and 1970. The objective of the article is to highlight the extent to which Findlay’s philosophical writings were influenced by Mahāyāna Buddhism. Although predominantly a Platonist, Findlay drew influence from Asian philosophy (...) and religion, particularly Mahāyāna Buddhism. In these lectures, he applies the metaphor of the Platonic Cave to investigate Hegelian and Husserlian approaches to knowledge. Though he was a leading Hegel and Husserl scholar, his reading of these two philosophers is strongly influenced by Mahāyāna Buddhism, resulting in a unique mystical interpretation of these two philosophers. Revisiting Findlay’s writings is significant for two reasons; firstly, he investigated Buddhism prior to the Asian religions being included in Religious Studies departments’ purview in South African universities, and secondly, his interpretation of two prominent Western philosophers along Buddhist lines provides an early attempt at decolonising the predominance of Western philosophical views of knowledge.Contribution: This contribution forms part of a larger collection of essays investigating philosophical works that have had a significant impact on the study of religion. This contribution investigates the Buddhist influence on J.N. Findlay’s philosophical readings of Husserl and Hegel. (shrink)
Thomas J.J. Altizer is one of the most important theologians of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and all radical theology must pass through and be conversant with his work and the historical significance of his earlier contributions. This chapter presents Altizer’s essential ideas in a straightforward and accessible manner and provides a guide for the beginning reader.